Temperature range this week was the same as last, 17ºC – 23ºC. Drizzle produced 2mm but there were a few sunny days making for good birding. Bird numbers were slightly up on last week, partly due to a greater observation effort with 3 morning walks, producing 84 bird species seen and 3 heard. Mammals and reptiles were 19 species seen, same as last week but a different mix of species.
Highlight of the week was the sighting of an immature male White-eared Monarch along Bushy Creek. This is the first sighting of any White-eared Monarch around the Lodge since August 2008. Also returning was a male Leaden Flycatcher, this species had not been seen here since mid-April this year.
Topknot Pigeon was seen on several occasions when small parties of 4-8 flew high over the Lodge grounds and a pair of Wompoo Fruit-Dove have been calling and showing well around the grounds. The female Papuan Frogmouth was found roosting in the orchard area most days and towards the end of the week was heard calling at night. Australian Owlet-nightjar was again found peering out of its roost hollow during the day. A pair of Pacific Baza put on a good show one morning sitting in the sunlight high up in some eucalypts preening for well over 30 minutes for everyone to get good looks. The Brown Goshawk from last week was still around and the adult White-bellied Sea-Eagle continues to raid the local fish farm. The adult with two immature birds in pursuit flew past the entrance to the Lodge about 10m off the ground carrying a large Barramundi. These three were soon joined by two Whistling Kite who chased them away from their territory.
Two Bush Stone-curlew have been seen regularly on the morning walk in the nearby Mt. Kooyong nursing home grounds.
A pair of Double-eyed Fig-Parrot flew along the edge of the Lodge grounds for a brief glimpse and Australian King-Parrot were heard calling on two consecutive days. A Barking Owl was seen by a guest hiding in palm trees beside the Geraghty Park tennis court before flying of into more dense vegetation nearby. (Lesser) Sooty Owl was heard briefly on one night and the good news about the Eastern Barn Owl is that they have 3 youngsters in their nest. Four kingfisher species this week, Azure, Laughing and Blue-winged Kookaburra and several Forest. The Blue-winged was seen flying before flaring its wings to land and showing off its lovely bright blue wing patches, in contrast to the Laughing who have very dull blue wing patches. Yellow-throated Scrubwren seems to have taken up residence around the rainforest along Bushy Creek where it has been seen nearly everyday. Black Butcherbird is still hanging around along with the juvenile male Victoria's Riflebird. Australian Pipit have returned to forage in the cut cane paddocks. A full list of the weeks birds can be found on the Eremaea Birds website at this link www.eremaea.com/Lists.aspx?List=64271.
Several Giant White-tailed Rat, one which was big enough to be a possum, were seen foraging up in the trees as well as visiting the feeder near the reception area. Two bats were seen clinging to a tree trunk, but unable to be identified, they had very long ears which curled over at the ends. Bats that were identified were Eastern Horseshoe, Dusky Leaf-nosed and Little Bent-winged in addition Spectacled Flying Fox were around in small numbers.
Six species of frog were found this week, which was one better than last week. A Jungguy Frog was found in the reception area and moved outside to more natural surrounds.
Northern Leaf-tailed gecko were again found and a Boyd's Forest Dragon showed up near the units. A few moths including this Yellow Tiger Moth Agape chloropyga, which is a large spectacular moth found in Malaysia and Borneo across to Australia, are still active in the cooler nights. In Australia it occurs from Coen in the north of Queensland south to Lismore in New South Wales.
Further afield at least 4 and possibly 6 Pacific Baza were seen at Hasties Swamp. We have seen 12 flying together and heading north many years ago in Cairns, this was in August. A juvenile White-browed Crake was seen by several of our guests in front of the hide at Abattoir Swamp. The crakes had a nest in front of the hide at the end of last year and the beginning of this so it is good to know that they may have had some success.
Guest Comment from Simon Mustoe with video of Papuan Frogmouth and Striped Possum taken by Simon on a Canon EOS 550D.
"We'd just arrived at Kingfisher Park when Keith and Lindsay announced there was a Papuan Frogmouth in the orchard a few minutes away. This is a bird I have wanted to see for ages. It's the largest of the Australian frogmouths and quite difficult to see. The bird in this video was perched quite well out in the open, enough that the local Pale Yellow Robins had found it and were giving it grief.
What Kingfisher Park is really good for though, is spotlighting. I wasn't to be disappointed as Keith found me my first Striped Possum. Surely this has to be one of the most beautiful animals in Australia? " Simon Mustoe